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Senior Older and Wiser By June Michel THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL

. In 1955, Mamie Till Mobley and her son Emmett Till lived in Chicago. That August when Emmett was fourteen he begged to spend a week with his Mississippi cousins. While in Mississippi, Emmett and his cousin went into town to the little shop. As the boys drove off Emmett wolf whistled at the white store clerk. The clerk complained to her husband that a Chicago boy had flirted with her. At night, the white husband and his brother armed with shotguns went to the home where Emmett was staying and kidnapped him. They took him to a barn where they pistol whipped him. Then Mamie Till Mobley tells us they cleaved Emmett's head in half with a hatchet and shot him through the temple. She said one of her son's eyes had been dug out of his face while they other was dangling. Mamie says her son's nose looked like it has been chopped with a meat chopper. Then the killers lynched Emmett by hanging an industrial fan from barbed wire around the boys neck and they threw him in the river.

I WANT AN OPEN CASKET The body wasn't found for three days and when it was, the Sheriff told the uncle to get that body in the ground by sundown. Now, for the first time they telephoned Mamie and as she tells it, she didn't have time to fall apart, she had to get her son's body out of Mississippi. The body was sent in double caskets and under triple padlock with instructions not to open it. Mamie Till Mobley said "no, I don't know what's in there, it could be bricks, . . . I have got to know it's Emmett." Mamie says when she saw the body every bone in her body turned to steel. The funeral parlor representative asked if she wanted them to retouch the body and she said no, she wanted it left the way it was and she wanted an open casket. Mamie Till Mobley wanted the people to see what she saw. They held Emmett Till's wake from Friday to Tuesday and over 600,000 people viewed what had happened to her son. At the viewing on average every fifth person has to be assisted. Some fainted.

KILLERS CHARGED AND GO FREE The two men were charged with murder and acquitted by an all white jury. After the trial they were offered $4,000 by a reporter and both confessed to the murder but because of double jeopardy laws they could not be retried. As for Mamie Till Mobley, she went on to become a leading civil rights activists and is known as the woman who showed the world the truth. When she advised not to rock the boat she said "Oh no, we are going to rock these boats, we are going to turn the boats over."


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